Tampa BayWatch – My Thoughts on the Bucs

NFC South Season Preview part 4

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The final post in this series focuses on the Carolina Panthers. This time last season many pundits were heralding the Panthers as the the likely NFC representatives in the Superbowl. There were predictions of results ranging from 9-7 to even 14-2, however the Panthers couldn’t seem to string wins together and finished second in the division with an 8-8 record. Injuries hampered the team all year, Dan Morgan was lost for the season in the first game and there was a steady stream of players joining the IR list.

Carolina – Last Season 8-8

The Panthers will look to bounce back from this disappointing season but there are still questions on the offensive side of the ball. The Panthers have had a quiet off season, the only real FA signing of note has been David Carr from Houston. This does pose one of the big questions for the Panthers, is Jake Delhomme the #1 QB ? Even after 2 preseason games, there are rumblings in the Charlotte press and Panthers forums about the form of Delhomme and that it’s time to give Carr a chance. Delhomme only started 13 games last season thanks to injury and never looked like the player of the previous two seasons. The other key will be to get a solid running game established.

Are the team stronger than last year ?

Carolina haven’t had a 1000 yard rusher since Stephen Davis. Carolina seems to have a running back by comittee in place with DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams and these two will need to get a ground game going. The introduction of a new offensive coordinator in Jeff Davidson and a switch to a zone blocking scheme should help the 2 running backs in gaining some more yards this season. However the make up of that line is less than set with various different combinations having been tried throughout camp, whoever are the starting five will need to gel quickly to allow Foster and Williams to rack up some yards.

At WR , it’s all about Steve Smith. With Keyshawn Johnson retiring someone will need to step up into that #2 WR slot. Drew Carter seems to be the guy at the moment but Dwayne Jarrett from USC was drafted and will be looking to get that starting slot.

Defensively the loss of Mike Minter will be felt, but the return of a lot of starters from IR is great news. Jon Beason the Panthers first round draft pick will be pushing hard for a spot in the linebacking core, and the return of Dan Morgan from a season on IR after his 5th concussion should shore up the middle of that linebacking core. Mike Rucker and Julius Peppers will be a great DE tandem and Stanley McClover could provide impact in rotation.

With all the players returning from IR, the team look like the team that everyone was tipping this time last season. If Jake Delhomme can recapture the form of their run to the Superbowl the Panthers will be pushing New Orleans for the NFC South Division. Jon Beason should make an impact at LB and it’ll be interesting to see if Dwayne Jarretts’ supposed lack of pace shows in the NFL. The team look primed for a run to the playoffs.

Key Player Losses:

Mike Minter S / Keyshawn Johnson WR

Key Player Signings:

David Carr QB / Jon Beason LB (Rookie) / Ryan Kalil C (Rookie)

A good season if…

The Panthers really should be pushing the Saints for the divisional title. If they can stay injury free they should be able to secure a wildcard spot if they don’t win the NFC South outright.


Date Fixture
Sep 9 @ St Louis
Sep 16 Houston
Sep 23 @ Atlanta
Sep 30 Tampa Bay
Oct 7 @ New Orleans
Oct 14 @ Arizona
Oct 28 Indianapolis
Nov 4 @ Tennessee
Nov 11 Atlanta
Nov 18 @ Green Bay
Nov 25 New Orleans
Dec 2 San Francisco
Dec 9 @Jacksonville
Dec 16 Seattle
Dec 22 Dallas
Dec 30 @ Tampa Bay

Written by UK Bucs Fan

August 21, 2007 at 10:41 am

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